Development of Cool Little Kids Online
La Trobe University
Dr Amy Morgan
Dr Amy Morgan at La Trobe University led a project to develop an Internet-based version of a face-to-face parenting program called Cool Little Kids, which aims to prevent anxiety problems in at-risk preschool aged children.
Cool Little Kids Online is a collaborative project between researchers from La Trobe University, Melbourne, and Macquarie University, Sydney. The auDA Foundation grant contributed to the development of the online program by allowing additional programming and multimedia, so that it is engaging and useful for parents.
Researchers from La Trobe University in Melbourne and Macquarie University in Sydney will collaborate to develop the online parenting program called Cool Little Kids Online. The Cool Little Kids program is an early intervention parenting program targeting 3 to 6-year-olds who are at a high risk of developing anxiety problems in the future.
The research team approached 10 groups that were running the Cool Little Kids group parenting program as part of La Trobe University’s clinical placements for student psychologists. They invited parents from these groups to contribute their stories to the website and/or help them test it. They have performed interviews with 6 of these parents, and their personal stories to help other parents will be added to the website.
The Cool Little Kids Online website was launched on 28 July 2014. Grant funds were spent on increasing the engagement of the website, and went towards the following:
- a professional illustrator who provided 56 illustrations used on the website and in the animated videos
- a professional voiceover artist who voiced a 4000-word script
- undertaking interviews with 6 parents who provided their stories about their participation in the Cool Little Kids group parenting program
- applying a ‘responsive’ website theme that could be used on tablets and mobile devices
- web development work to adapt the ‘Cool X’ platform and implement new features.
Parent feedback during the usability testing indicated that they really liked the look of the online program and appreciated that it wasn’t just all text. The feedback from the pilot study will provide information on how they can best improve the content and the functioning of the website for other parents in the future.
How were obstacles overcome?
Delays with the execution of the grant and the availability of the web development company to begin work resulted in the website not being set up until January 2014 (originally estimated for October/November 2013). They also experienced difficulties with the loss of one of the collaborators, who changed roles at Macquarie University, and increased web development costs. The work required to adapt the ‘Cool X’ platform was greater than anticipated and, in conjunction with the pricing changes, meant that some website improvements were not possible within the budget. Despite this, the online program still functions well as a new resource for parents and is currently being used by parents in the community in the pilot study.
The Cool Little Kids website can be viewed at: www.coollittlekids.org.au
Dr Morgan presented on the development of Cool Little Kids Online and the design of the pilot study at the Australian Rural and Remote Mental Health Symposium in November, and will also present at the Alliance for the Prevention of Mental Disorders 2014 conference in early December (details below).
Morgan, A.J., Bayer, J.K., & Rapee, R.M. (November 2014). Improving access to an effective anxiety prevention program: Pilot feasibility study of Cool Little Kids Online (oral presentation). 6th Australian Rural and Remote Mental Health Symposium, Albury.
Morgan, A.J., Bayer, J.K., & Rapee, R.M. (December 2014). Improving access to an effective anxiety prevention program: Pilot feasibility study of Cool Little Kids Online (oral presentation). Alliance for the Prevention of Mental Disorders (APMD) 2014 Conference, Adelaide.